Contrary to its lamest nickname, New Orleans isn’t “big.” Nor is it “easy”—especially when the Super Bowl comes to town. Having planned and executed Mardi Gras celebrations since the turn of the 17th century, our town is used to handling big, rowdy parties. But the Super Bowl is a whole different obnoxious, corporate ball game.
The Super Bowl and the accompanying insanity cause many inconveniences here, mostly related to the traditional Carnival festivities. After the Krewe Du Vieux kicks off parade season on January 19, Super Bowl XLVII kills Carnival’s momentum. This year, the city has banned parades of any sort for days before and after the game, saying it doesn’t have enough security to handle both crowds simultaneously.
And they are remarkably different crowds.
Unlike Carnival, which brings in many working-class Gulf Coast families, the Super Bowl attracts mostly out-of-town high-rollers. I worked at the only fine-dining restaurant on Canal Street’s main parade route back when Super Bowl XXXVI interrupted Mardi Gras in 2002, and the scene outside the window looked like a rap video starring white men dangling from limos. I recall an Escalade with a hot tub in its bed…
And here’s a little taste of the Krewe of Pontchartrain: